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Brainiac, Doomsday, and Skull Ship, Oh My!! More Art From Tim Burton's Deceased SUPERMAN LIVES!!




Merrick here...

Last week, we got a fascinating look at toy concept art from Tim Burton's long-ago defunct SUPERMAN LIVES - which was to "re-invent" The Man of Steel in a big, visually intense motion picture starring Nic Cage as Clark/Supes, and follow (to a degree, at least) the "Death of Superman" comic arc which would've seen Superman beaten down mercilessly by an extraterrestrial badass called Doomsday, and tracked Superman's subsequent regenerative efforts (along with their impact on the world).  

You can find said artwork HERE.  

Now comes more toy concept images from the film, which give us a fair sense of what Burton's Supes might've/could've/was going to look like.  Click any of the thumbnails below to jump to the images' point of origin - TimBurton.JP-  for more.   

Some of this art - the color images of the Skull Ship that link off of the site's main page - I'd seen elsewhere a while back, although I can't recall where at the moment.  Doomsday and Brainiac?  Not sure I've ever come across these designs before today.  Check 'em out.  





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Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:23 p.m. CST


    by sjfatty

    thank god this didn't happen

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Good stuff

    by MrEkoLetMeLive

    Like the look of all of it. I can just see little machine things scuttling about Braniac's ship repairing damage as it moves through space. Interesting to see what might have been.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Burton's Superman

    by Kevin Hazard

    So much promise.....when Burton was still making good films......would have loved to see it.....but alas I'll have to settle for the new one.....still excited to see Michael Shannon as Zod though...

  • and the gay robot sidekick?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:27 p.m. CST

    That last clip from the video made my day. HA!!

    by P

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Glad it never got any further than this

    by ReefShark

    Superman aint in Tim Burton's wheelhouse...He is great at what he does...What he doesn't (and shouldn't) do is Superman.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:28 p.m. CST

    I like the look of the Skull ship

    by peterclay65

    and Doomsday but my GOD, that last shot of Nic Cage in the suit was fuck ugly

  • there's a reason it didnt get made, you know.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:29 p.m. CST

    LOL at that last pic of Cage

    by Mel

    He looks retarded

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Concepts look pretty cool

    by nexxus7

    I think the worst things the movie had going for it was Nicholas Cage (yikes) and the high tech suit (Superman is a humanoid with godlike powers, not a techno god). Of course was that the version where everyone did super karate and Luthor was a Kryptonian as well or was that when McG was in consideration.

  • One'a the biggest WTF moments in all of cinema history, the revelation that Cage would play the role. The costume and story were certainly out there, but Cage as Supes/Kent? W. T. F. ????????? I mean....we all know Tim Burton is ingesting only the finest of controlled substances, but it must've been *exceptionally* high quality stuff he was on when he made that casting decision. Add to that, the fact the NC got a $20M pay-or-play windfall, and he never even put on the suit.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:36 p.m. CST

    DC Animated should just make this

    by Bass Ackwards

    I've always thought DC Animated should start making some of these unproduced super hero scripts. We just had a period before Batman Begins where so many projects started and stopped, I'd love to at least get an idea of what they might have been. Wolfgang's Batman v Superman, Whedon's Wonder Woman, Aranofsky's Batman Year One. With all the production art that's surfacing on this one, it seems like it'd be a breeze, all the leg work has been done. Cage is so hard up these days I bet he'd even voice it.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Are you the Key Master?

    by gruntybear

    Gozer the Traveler will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:43 p.m. CST

    I'm sure the story would have rocked

    by Jaster Mareel

    Everything else would have sucked a giant kryptonite cock.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Keep in mind this would have come out in 1998...

    by Erik Radvon

    In 1998, I would have been first in line to see the Death of Superman story put on the big screen, directed by Tim Burton. Would it have been the classic Superman story we all want to see? No. It would have been a compelling, wide ranging story that took the character someplace we have never seen in film. I happen to think that the Burton Superman film would have been a blockbuster. Who knows though. In retrospect, Superman fans got a "classic" take on the material in Superman Returns, and, frankly, it sucked. Kudos to Burton and all the people who worked on Superman Lives! for at least having some unique vision for the character, not just regurgitating Superman II. I love that all this concept art is seeing the light of day, all these years later. Take me back to days of youth, grubby hands on Wizard magazine, rumors of Dean Cain playing Superman in the first Act, then having Nic Cage rising as the new Kal-El. How awesome would that have been?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Bass Ackwards

    by Jaster Mareel

    I'm still hoping they can be produced as full-blown live-action films. If they do a cartoon version, that pretty much seals it, but there's nothing stopping them from doing this Superman script in the future, or SvsB at some later date. In fact, it was my understanding that is the plan, at least for SvsB.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:48 p.m. CST

    "Mechanical Suit" and Nic Cage

    by rahtard

    The mechanical suit idea is his regeneration suit from the Superman Lives storyline. The script for the movie was being written by Kevin Smith, so the storyline was actually pretty faithful. That's not really Nic Cage in that clip. Its a mannequin of him. If anyone thinks his casting is weird, I remember in '88 when they announced Beetlejuice was playing Batman. That seemed to work rather well.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Great concepts... But yeah, Nic Cage was clearly a bad choice

    by Dr. Egon Spengler

    Whoever it was that decided to pull the plug on this project, should be given a medal and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Cage always looks like he's stoned. I would really love to ask Mr. Burton what he saw in Nic Cage to make him think he would work as Supes.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST


    by D o o d

    it's just weird seeing nicholas cage in that outfit. So glad this got dumped, it would've been terrible and yet another nail in the superman franchise!

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:54 p.m. CST

    wonder how that creature in the last pic would have looked in the movie

    by wattos new hat

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Radvon4realz you've convinced me.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

    I was with everyone else on this at first thinking Nic Cage was a very unusual choice for Supes. But then I started thinking, Burton before his downward spiral had begun. Cage at the height of his stardom. A dark take on a story that we all know and love. It would have taken us to the afterlife I'm sure. Not in a Beetlegeuse sort of way but maybe something a bit more fantastic. I'm sure it would have been panned by critics and geeks alike. But what if it hit all the right notes of a cult favorite. It could have been that generations Crow.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:57 p.m. CST

    I like the concept for Brainiac

    by elsewhere

    the Skull Ship not so much. Doomsday looks too ape-ish. Out of morbid curiosity, I kind of wish this film would have happened. It couldn't have been worse than Batman & Robin, right? Right?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:57 p.m. CST


    by rahtard

    I agree. Many of these people who are trashing this project I'm sure are looking forward to Snyder's horrid directing of a brain dead 13 year old's wild rumpus. If they can attempt a somber approach to Spider-man, a somber approach to Superman can work just as well. I would also add that it was Tim Burton who made comic franchises adult friendly.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:12 p.m. CST

    A Krypton Christmas nightmare.

    by Bigdada


  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Would've been a bad movie but

    by Samuel Fulmer

    It looks like it would've been a camp classic, instead of Superman Returns which is just a crap classic.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:15 p.m. CST

    To that Nic Cage pic: WOW.... just... wow.

    by Ricardo

    It is so WRONG, it reminds me of Harry Shearer's reaction to The Day the Clown Cried on an interview he gave, he just stood there with his mouth open. WOW.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Oh, wow.

    by Andrew

    I can honestly say I'm glad this never saw the light of day. I love Supes as much as the next guy, and I get it's supposed to be a re imagining, but Jesus. Clearly Burton never looked at anything officially related to the Man of Steel. This is dreadful.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST


    by D o o d

    Exclude me from your comment. I am most certainly NOT looking forward to Snyders Superman. On the other hand, Singer was a really top rated Director, given all the money he needed to make Superman Returns. Look how that turd turned out. So on that note, I have a feeling that the execs and producers will be keeping a close eye on Snyder. Not a good thing, but they might just avoid him being as shit as he normally is!

  • Superman Returns is not classic Superman. The costume might have been closer to the normal Superman outfit (but in reality it still was WAY OFF!), but the story was just insulting, only explanation is that the people that made that movie didn't know a thing about Superman beyond what was shown in the Donner/Lester films.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    I like Tim Burton but...

    by jimmy_009

    ...I'm really glad this didn't work out.

  • is completely beyond me. I mean seriously...Nicolas Cage? Come on.

  • That alone would have been worth the price of admission.

  • You know, the one in the rain at night while all the other Agent Smith copies watched, felt more like what I expect to see in a big budget Superman film's action sequences than what we got for the most part with Superman Returns.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Wow Brainac didn't look half bad

    by Phategod2

    everything else looks like ass.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Oh my God let it go.

    by Mugato5150

    How long have we been hearing about the Tim Burton Superman? Burton's kitchy goth shit worked for Batman, would not have worked for Superman. No one is ever going to top the Donner films, despite the camp and dated FX. No one is going to top Christopher Reeves' performance. No one is EVER going to top Williams' score. And after tries by Hackman and Spacey, it's clear that no film is going to get Lex Luther right. Although from what I saw the Smallville Lex was pretty good.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:51 p.m. CST

    Damn, now I really wish they would've done that.

    by notcher

    Seeing that pic of Cage...missed opportunity.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 2:57 p.m. CST


    by Bass Ackwards

    That's actually one of the things I thought Returns got right. I remember seeing that fight in Matrix too and wondering how the upcoming Superman would possibly top that, and I think they made a smart choice by instead of trying to make Superman's flight look more exciting, they made it look more graceful. Its probably the only portrayal of flight that I've seen where the character looked like someone who actually belonged in the air, and for all the faults of that movie, there's one bit, where the city is kind of quiet and Superman just does this fly by over the street while we hear the flutter of his cape in the wind, that's a perfect Superman shot for me. They did a lot of work with developing a pulley system so they could do simple things like have him change directions, and for me it worked and looked great, its a practical technology I hope carries over into Snyder's reboot.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3 p.m. CST

    Are you guys serious?Who wouldn't want to see this!

    by Randy

    So fascinating, this would have been one of those most insane things ever, we would be able to watch it for years and years.

  • I could just imagine him being considered as a 'man-in-a-suit' by Burton, but some exec going, 'but he's gotta be bad-@$$ and run around like a hellhound. We got to make him computer-animated.'

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:09 p.m. CST

    this would have been God Awful

    by Simon Jr.

    Glad this wasent made

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:09 p.m. CST

    how long?

    by JamesT

    Surely this much content could not have been for just 1 movie.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:16 p.m. CST

    The More I see..the more my mind is changing...

    by conspiracy

    THIS film would have been so fucking nutty bad as to be possibly the greatest Beer, Pot and Pizza film ever made. Look at Cage in that suit..look at that fucking can you NOT want to get FUBAR and watch this thing?

  • just weird.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:22 p.m. CST

    The Doomsday design looks inspired by the Monster of the Id from "Forbidden Planet"

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    The more I see from this, the more I wish I could see. This would have been a weird, wild film.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Gene Simmons as Superman?!?! rad man!!!

    by cameron

    Nic Cage as Superman......How did that get past the first meeting? So glad this got cancelled.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:29 p.m. CST

    If they made this now I'd go see it

    by Transhuman

    I want the whole crew back, maybe even Nic Cage. No wait... DEFINITELY Nic Cage. Danny Elfman, Kevin Smith, of course Burton. This movie looks like it was going to be crazy and who knows if it would be good or bad but it's already far more interesting than Superman Returns. I have hope for Man of Steel though.

  • That said, the Brainiac and skull ship concepts look aiight. Thank fucking god this didn't get made. Snyder's Superman probably won't be great, but I bet it'll at least be a fun, cool lookin' superhero actioner. Hopefully they'll get a real director for the new, nigh inevitable, Superman 2.

  • ....and would make a dime. Not that Superman Returns was a huge success but it did make money, mostly because they copied the Donner films as much as they could.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:42 p.m. CST

    I wonder how much everyone made before it got cancelled...

    by conspiracy

    It looks pretty far along...everyone involved was getting paid...I wonder how much this cost the studio..and who is now living on the street for green lighting this thing.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:45 p.m. CST


    by Mugato5150

    Why do you think Superman Returns cost $300+ million? Because of the three action scenes you saw on the screen? All this bullshit that preceded it was counted in the budget.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Yeah I'm seeing that Cage pic for the first time too

    by Jaster Mareel

    .......WOOOOOOOW...... Little hint: Receding hair line + Long hair= EPIC FUCKING FAIL! Yeah, Superman is not widely known as evoking BEN FUCKING FRANKLIN! HOLY FUCKNUTS was that going to be awful!

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:48 p.m. CST

    They pulled in the neighborhood of $100M for this thing

    by Jaster Mareel

    I know for a fact that Cage and Burton got paid their full salaries despite not shooting a frame of film. The budget for Superman Returns contains the entire budget for Superman Lives.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Nicholas Cage may be kind of a joke now

    by seasider

    but back in the late 90's he was riding a hot streak of back to back action blockbusters and had won an Oscar just before that. He was hot property back then so when you think about it his casting kind of made more sense than Michael Keaton as Batman at that point in time. I was never a fan of either casting choice though I understand what Burton was trying to do.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:53 p.m. CST

    I just said that, wrath_of_fett

    by Mugato5150

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Nic Cage in '98 no stranger than Keaton in '89...

    by Erik Radvon

    Again, you have to look at this project from the point of view of the time when it was being developed. In the mid 90s, Nic Cage had just won Best Actor yet was still down for actioners like The Rock and Con Air. He wasn't the typical Superman choice, but his casting was better than pulling some Christopher Reeves clone out of a line up. I'm not saying Burton Superman would have been the definitive Superman movie, but it would have gotten my $4 or whatever movie tickets cost in the not so distant past. Tim Burton's track record is still pretty damn solid. For a mainstream Hollywood director, he has brought more oddness and artistic direction to cinema than one would even think is still possible in this world. Has he made shit? Of course. But he's made a very fair share of certified modern classics, not the least of which is Batman. That movie, more than any other, really set the template for modern comic book adaptations. Take a look at the characters, the shots, the beats hit in Batman ''s like the Citizen Kane of comic movies, meaning that it has been enormously influential and copied. It's easy to sit here in 2012, spoiled by Nolan films, and look at this Superman Lives! stuff as "OMFG Dey was crazy ta even consider this! Nc Cage looks all 'tarded" but as a child of the 90s, I can say that we were subjected to far less interesting "blockbusters" than these concept pieces hint at. I would have given Burton's Superman a go.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Why was Nic Cage an option?

    by jim

    I like Cage as an actor, however why was he Burton's option. Burton has never used Cage in any of his films or any future films as of yet. It's very interesting that Cage was his option. I dunno....could be an intriguing question to ask Burton though.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:02 p.m. CST

    I actually had faith in the Cage casting back then

    by Bass Ackwards

    I remember being skeptical, but at the time really really liking Cage, and keeping in mind how well Keaton worked for Batman and Cruise worked for Lestat, and not yet being jaded to Burton, I was actually pretty excited to see what this unconventional team was going to bring to the project. Knowing everything I know now (i.e. Jon Peters), I'm of course glad it got crushed under its own weight. But at the time, I was optimistic.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:20 p.m. CST

    I think because Superman is just unsuited for a Burton film

    by Mugato5150

    Superman is a boy scout, a straight arrow who stand for truth, justice and all that gay stuff. Burton just doesn't do that. So Burton would have deviated from the Superman character. Which may have been interesting but it would have fell on its ass. They tried an even slightly emo Superman with Superman Returns and it didn't sell (it made money but I don't see anyone scrambling for a sequel with the same concept).

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:20 p.m. CST


    by J-Dizzle

    For a second there I was sure it was the Death Star from ROTJ.

  • His name was big at the time and that's all that mattered. If he was the right man for the role or not was not taken into consideration. Tim Burton said in some interview that he could see Nicholas Cage bringing to Superman the awkwardness and isolation that would happen from coming from a different planet. So, yeah, Tim Burton didn't have a clue about what Superman is all about either.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:33 p.m. CST

    I'm glad it wasn't made but at least it had some balls

    by phifty2

    behind it. They certainly weren't trying to play it safe.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Oh and Cage, yeah he's not right for Superman but

    by phifty2

    he is a great actor. Raising Arizona, Wild At Heart, Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation. Like the guy or not he can act when given good material. Plus he's a comic book fan. His fucking son's name is Kal-El and he took his stage name from Luke Cage. I don't know why he gets all this hate.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Anyone remember Tiny Tim?

    by Manos

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:50 p.m. CST

    wrath of fett

    by elsewhere

    I hope you're not dense enough to think Cage would have wore that hairstyle in the movie.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:53 p.m. CST

    Two Word Review: SHIT MAN!

    by Orionsangels

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Edward Kryptonhands.

    by gotilk

    In that first artwork in the video. But some of the designs are pretty amazing. I can't say if I think it would have been a failure or a masterpiece. But I do lament never having the chance to say one way or the other.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:57 p.m. CST

    And actually...

    by gotilk

    I think Burton does fantastic straight-laced, boy-scout types as secondary characters in his films. Very well in fact. Question is, could he have created a great superhero film with a character like that in the lead?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 4:58 p.m. CST


    by gotilk

    Agree 100%. Gets way too much hate. He can be hit and miss, but when he hits.... he's right on target.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Kind of wish this movie happened...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Would have been crazy. Possibly not good but for sure crazy.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 5:28 p.m. CST


    by Jaster Mareel

    I can't think of a film in which Cage has ever had hair that long, let alone having it died fucking black! Let's see....what character was he about to film at that time that had black hair? Hmmm..... And let's not forget that Superman DID have long hair in the comics at one point. And of course Burton often has his protagonists have long hair. I don't know if Cage was going to have that long hair in the film or not, but they chose THAT HAIR for the costume test. They could have tied it back into a ponytail but they didn't. That dense enough for ya?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 5:30 p.m. CST

    I'm a HUGE Burton fan by the way

    by Jaster Mareel

    I know there are those just freaking out in a fucking whirlwind of Burton cock-sucking, but that's no reason to rant like a fucking retard everytime someone brings up a negative point about this production.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 5:38 p.m. CST

    21st century irony meets Superman Lives

    by Larry Sellers

    I don't have an opinion on this. His Batman films turned out alright, especially as Burton described himself as a non-comic book fan. So that considered, this could have gone either way. I just don't get how this concept art is suddenly turning heads around here. For as long as I can remember, there was as much hate for Lives as there was for Abrams' Flyby project...maybe a little less. Just strikes me as though one person said "Hey this could've been so fucking weird and awesome to see! Look how I am saying the opposite of what you expect!" And suddenly every other post is "OH WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN?!?!"

  • EEEWWW...

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Stop Apologizing for Burton and Cage

    by OutsideChance

    They are talented but everything that has been seen about this aborted film demonstrated what everyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of their careers knows: Superman isn't the right material for them. They would have fucked it up royally. And, in fact, WB might have taken such a bath on the film that they would have sworn to never hire a "visionary" director again, thereby depriving us of Nolan's Batman.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 5:56 p.m. CST

    Corny & Weird? Yes. Ballsy? Super yes.

    by shitstorm23

    Which is what Hollywood lacks these days. This movie would have been...SOMETHING. Good or bad it would have been so far out there and there's something to be said for that. I know in my heart it would have sucked really, really bad. But, I wish it would have gotten made somehow. Just so kooky and weird. Like it's been told to them from the kid brother of someone that has read the comics.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:01 p.m. CST

    This would've been the Batman Returns of Superman movies

    by Jarrete Barnett

    At the hands of the same director, no less. But personally, I'm not feeling Nic Cage, nor the general concept of a emo Superman.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:04 p.m. CST

    Some enterprising young filmmaker...

    by gary_buseys_upper_half

    ...needs to gather up all of this material interview Burton, Cage, Kevin Smith, et al and make a feature length documentary about the history of this film that never was. If you could get the right kind of access, you could make a really interesting doc out of this stuff.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:08 p.m. CST

    @Shitstorm23 - totally agree with you.

    by gary_buseys_upper_half

    Everybody whines, rightfully so, about visionless milquetoast crap like Thor and Green Lantern, but then lampoon anything like this that seems a little bit "out there". If you want to make interesting movies YOU HAVE TO TAKE RISKS. Some of the best movies Hollywood ever made came from risky gambles on unusual personal visions - Star Wars, for example.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:18 p.m. CST

    I'm thoroughly impressed by the Brainiac designs.

    by Royston Lodge

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Yeah, because successful comic book movies take risks

    by Mugato5150

    Sin City, maybe. But even that didn't have the balls to get Jessica Alba naked.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:23 p.m. CST


    by chronicallydepressedlemming

    People want stuff accurate to the source material ie. the reason they went to see the movie and presumably the reason the studio are making the movie in the first place. You might call that 'milquetoast', but save the risky shit for original fare. Surely taking 'risky gambles' is what birthed these stories in the first place? Unless you think there was always an obvious gap in the market for a guy with a magic ring that is powered by green and weakened by yellow? I agree with this statement you made: "If you want to make interesting movies YOU HAVE TO TAKE RISKS. " And wonder shouldn't you be applying it to Hollywood when it comes to creativity from scratch instead of ransacking an idea that is already well-established?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:37 p.m. CST


    by shitstorm23

    I get what you are saying, but studios take that same thing to mean you can never do an "elseworlds" type tale. You could never do something that is out of context of their current tentpole franchise. Why take a risk and do a fun Batman/Superman movie, a Kingdom Come, or something like that "Super Max" script that was being shopped, since only "original fare" should get the risks. <p> That's where this could have succeeded. Too many current comic films are SO basic and take no risks, when the comics can do all sorts of crazy shit and then just re-con when they feel like it.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:44 p.m. CST

    They should do this as a one-off animated feature

    by 3D-Man

    I'd buy that BluRay for sure!

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 6:55 p.m. CST

    Singer/Superman Returns

    by Redmantle

    Friggin Singer ADMITTED that he NEVER read Superman or any comics, that he just loved the Donner movies. It's ridculous that he was allowed to touch the material and bring in the superbaby. Yeah, he did a great job with X-men, admittedly. He must have had someone write a good script for him and been the director-monkey for it. But he was all over Superman Returns as a passion project and we got the vomitous mush that was his movie... bland characters, no heroism at all, no real epic feel, Bosworth and Routh just terrible- no chemistry- only Cyclops was heroic.... WTF (rant over)

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 7:07 p.m. CST

    Some of the concept art is pretty cool tho.

    by dahveed1972

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Tim!! Hey Burton!!

    by indyhu

    Make it! Make it today. Call it something other than Superman. Just take your story, update it a bit and update the effects a LOT! Get Cage back to play the failed Jesus character and do it! Let's see what happens.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Seriously now

    by indyhu

    When Cage was supposed to play big blue, they had one screen test of him in the standard costume flying. Burton bust a gut laughing at it so much Cage was paid off to walk and the rest is history. I really want to see THAT footage!

  • I thought "dark and murderous" is how Superman had been described at some point by those attached to this. Or was it just a rumor that someone said it?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 8:09 p.m. CST


    by Your Moms Box

    Kind of. Kevin Smith mentioned in one of his "Evening With" DVD's that the producer of this had wanted to cast Sean Penn originally as Superman based on his work in "Dead Man Walking" because he had the eyes of a crazed killer. Something like that. I am sure Youtube has the entire story somewhere.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Murderous side

    by indyhu

    That wasn't Burton, but Jon Peters, the Producer who wanted Supes to fight a Giant Spider in the Third Act. That went out the window whn Burton came on board and the Spider wenet to the Wild Wild West.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 8:26 p.m. CST

    This movie was WAY too close to getting made

    by NivekJ

    It makes me shudder. People wanna bitch about Superman (Jesus) Returns? Be grateful we didn't get this industry killer. As if Batman & Robin didn't do enough damage in the 90's. SMFH.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Dude, there is no way Cage could've pulled of Superman.

    by Yelsaeb

    That is all.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Edward Superhands

    by Teddy Artery

    No. No. No. Now I'm really quite relieved this never saw the light of the silver screen.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 10:12 p.m. CST

    Are those gauges on Brainiac's head?

    by Kabrix

    So we can see at what pressure he's currently thinking?

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST


    by dengreg31

    Would have been the worst superhero film ever....

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Brainiac and Doomsday actually look kinda cool

    by Mattman

    But I'm sure they wouldn't have made them nearly as interesting as the concept art.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Nicholas Cage

    by KGersen

    would've been such a shit Superman that words basically fail me. So glad this did not come to pass.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 12:47 a.m. CST

    This is the "Joderowski's Dune" of comic book movies.

    by the_box_drone

    I'd really love to see it out of morbid curiosity. I probably even would have loved it if I had no prior concept of what Superman was all about; but some things you just don't mess with - not to that extent anyways. Two of those things are Dune and Superman.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 1:52 a.m. CST

    Nicholas was the only one boned up about him being Supes!

    by Onin Solstice

    Cage obviously has a throbber for Superman and this was his one chance to play him. But luckily, Peters and Guber saw the shit heading towards the fan and pulled the plug.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 1:58 a.m. CST

    this woulda been one of the best movies ever


  • Jan. 10, 2012, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Jowdorowsky's Dune

    by KGersen

    designs are awesome! These are not

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 3:12 a.m. CST

    Should be a book

    by Jam Banjo

    On the whole process of this. Interveiws with as many of the key players as possible plus script extracts, costume designs and evolution. Would be a fascinating read. Sure they could do that with a few unused scripts but this would be a guaranteed seller surely.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 3:17 a.m. CST

    Also it looks like a train wreck

    by Jam Banjo

    but that's not to say it couldn't have been rescued. Listening to Kevin Smith, and assuming he's only exaggerating a little (seems his stories tie in with other stuff we have seen and heard) then the main reason this was a mess was the studio trying to change Superman into a Star Wars type merchandising movie. Very much design by committee. I do think that a dark take on Superman is a bad idea though, and that worries me for Snyders. Batman is dark, Superman is the light. As Grant Morrison puts it - Batman is Lunar, Superman is Solar. That's why they work. Batman hides in the shadows and wears a mask, Superman flies around in primary colours showing his face. Superman's strength is his belief that there is good in all of us. If you think this makes him an unworkable character, read All-Star Superman. One of the best superhero stories of all time.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 4:23 a.m. CST

    Burton's Deceased Superman Lives

    by eddie armstrong

    remember reading at the time that keaton had agreed to reprise his Batman in cool would that have been.screw Cage,Keaton would have been the story.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 4:46 a.m. CST

    Doomsday and Brainiac looks great

    by chien_sale

  • Doomsday looks like it would've turned Superman to dust. Braniac looks cool.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 6:29 a.m. CST

    more good artwork

    by alexander

    more bitterness and regret it never happened... oh come on you know you wanted this to happen

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 6:37 a.m. CST

    Super Stoned Man Maybe...

    by optimous_douche

    But Superman no way. Not unless he got Kryptonian AIDS and Apokolypse hairplugs

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 7:17 a.m. CST


    by KilliK

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 7:43 a.m. CST

    thank God this didn't happen

    by Freddy

    Burton did quite enough when he raped the Apes franchise. Don't need him fitting scissorhands on Kal-El and making Lois a skinny, pucker-lipped Goth chick.

  • At the end Burton would have probably killed Lex Luthor like he did the Joker. Tim Burton just likes to kill all the main characters like Joker and Penguin so that you have to just reboot stuff after he's done.

  • FYI

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Prosthetic jaw on Keaton?

    by Jaster Mareel

    What the fuck are you babbling about? The cowl was built in a way that pushed his chin forward. He did NOT wear "a prosthetic jaw". Jesus Christ where do you people get this stupid shit? Do you just make it up?

  • And you guys saying that it would've been a blockbuster are right...because most cinemas have a no-refund policy.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Burton should only be an art director, not a film director

    by Laserhead

    Yes, he movies are singular because they all have his design aesthetic. So let him design things. Because he can't put together a compelling narrative to save his life (other than Ed Wood and Pee Wee's Big Adventure-- both five stars)

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 9:16 a.m. CST

    If he couldn't make POTA work ...

    by FrodoFraggins

    There's no way he could pull off a superman flick. Visually he's a great director. Plotwise he's as bad as Shyamalan.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 9:27 a.m. CST

    I'm glad the film never got made, but one thing I'd like to see IS:

    by ChickenStu

    A comic book adaptation of the script for this, with the artwork designed to resemble the unfinished production design of the movie and Superman drawn to look like Nicolas Cage. It would be a very cool thing to do under DC's "Elseworlds" imprint... the comic book adaptation of the movie that wasn't made. Add to that a forward by Tim Burton explaining the reasons why the movie didn't get made and maybe some words from Nic Cage himself... I think there would very much be a demand for this. This project has been dead as a doornail for years - and yet people still lap up information on it. If anyone from DC is reading this... that could be a way to go.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 10:05 a.m. CST

    The skullship design is cool. The rest? Not so much

    by rev_skarekroe

    Every time someone bitches about Superman Returns they should be forced to read Kevin Smith's stories about this film, look at all the shitty Superman designs for it, and write "I will always remember how much worse it could be" 100 times on a blackboard.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Tim Burton should only...

    by Tera Sanders

    Tim Burton should only be the weird guy sitting in the corner at Starbucks, not a film Director. Or he could be the assistant to that huge tranny-looking lady on Millionaire Matchmaker, but he shouldn't direct movies. He could even be a designer on Project Runway, but he should be one of the first to go... and he shouldn't direct movies. Did you know they were playing Tim Burton's films back-to-back-to-back at Gitmo and forcing the detainees to watch. Talk about torture! I heard that Tim Burton's Pinocchio is going to feature some new innovations: instead of having regular conical-shaped tops, mountains will have swirly swirly tops, like a pinwheel. Can you imagine? Regardless, he shouldn't direct movies. His real skill is being a decrepit old weirdo - that's what he's best at. I worked at Disney when the Alice in Wonderland DVD came out. That morning all 3000 employees received a copy of the DVD/Blu Ray combo pack. Not so coincidentally, that night there were 2999 Alice in Wonderland DVD/Blu Ray combo packs available on eBay. The remaining copy was held on to by the guy at the studio with the Big Fish poster decorating his cubicle. I wish Tim Burton had made Superman lives and cast Michael Keaton as Superman. Not just because Michael Keaton is such a um... good actor but because he seems so superheroish, you know in a short, spindly, balding, bug-eyed loser sort of way. Who says Superman isn't short, spindly, balding and bug-eyed? Maybe he wears an neon exo-skeleton or something.

  • been totally unbelievable because you can't buy Cage as Supes. He looks ridiculous. However, I would have LOVED to have seen this even though it most likely would have been terrible. Damn I wish they made this. Why didn't they? The light up suit in one of the videos concerning this is so totally different from the most common Superman representations.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Nicolas Cage as "SuperTran"...

    by 77AD

    Thank the maker this was never made.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    I dunno

    by David

    I've never thought that Burton was particularly well-suited to Superman. Burton excels with the offbeat, and Superman appears to be just the type of character Burton's characters stand in opposition to. he might have surprised me, however. On the other hand, Nic Cage just doesn't work fr the role. Acting ability aside (and Cage has surprised me from time to time) the Man of Steel needs a forehead and a chin.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Keaton didn't have a prosthetic jaw, you tool

    by Mugato5150

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 2:59 p.m. CST

    LOL!!! Nic Cage at the end of that video clip! Just his hair alone!

    by DanielnocharismaCraig

    Yeah, disaster averted. But this was the 90s people. An era long over but well known for it's cynical angst.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Burton's thought process for reimagining any franchise:

    by Jared Bond

    So....... how can I goth it up? What if everything was goth?

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Remember "Singles"?

    by Darth Macchio

    When that girl "Debbie" (cute redhead, not Bridgette Fonda) was getting her "dating" video made at that dating matchup place and the girl was like, such and such could film it for you and he's a "genius" as if just using odd lighting or weird angles and effects made you a genius...well that's like Tim Burton... oh...wait...that was Tim Burton... ok..just kidding here...Tim's got some decent stuff. Crap too but certainly some decent stuff. I mean the fact that Wynona Rider kept most girls from looking just like Pamela Anderson was win-win for me. And Cage is great - a weirdo in a good way to be sure but do you really think the guy who brought "H.I. McDunnough" to life doesn't exist anywhere on earth anymore simply because of the "The BEES! They're in my eyes!!" guy who kicked a fat girl while dressed as a bear exists now instead? Even if that we're true - can any of you ever say that you've kicked a fat girl while wearing a bear suit? That's fucking epic in it's sheer awesome-ness, see?

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 6:10 p.m. CST

    Check out the book SUPERMAN VS. HOLLYWOOD...

    by Bob Cryptonight

    ...for a lot of funny stuff about these bastards who have tried to so right by Supes...

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Who knows about the movie?

    by sundancekeed

    Might have been great. Might have blown. We'll never know for sure. But one thing I do know. Nic Cage in that suit is pure ass and I do not mean that in a good way. However, I give the film points just because it wasn't another freaking origin story.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Whoever pointed out that the script for this....

    by Orbots Commander

    ....would make an interesting Elseworlds comic adaptation, along with forewords from the main principles involved including Burton, Peters, Cage and Smith, was on to something. And it'd virtually cost DC almost nothing to boot. I'd buy it out of sheer curiosity.

  • Jan. 10, 2012, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Or hell, just adapt it into....

    by Orbots Commander of DC's current line of animated direct to DVD features. I bet it would fly off the shelves.

  • Jan. 11, 2012, 12:40 p.m. CST

    orbots commander - that was me?

    by ChickenStu

    Something pretty special aren't I?